It is reported that a family has complained about a letter received from the NHS which praised the father of their child for ‘manfully stepping in’ to take their child to hospital when the mother was indisposed. To make matters worse (to any normal, intelligent person) the NHS trust did not ignore the complaint but sent an official letter of apology to the family, and the Daily Telegraph took up seventeen column inches to write about it. Lord preserve us from these people!
The NHS is pretty good,
It makes us better when it should,
But maybe one should not expect,
In each and every dialect,
That it is expert with its words,
Including those described as surds.
And so you might expect someone,
Would focus on the treatments done,
And not on every little word,
Writ in a letter – that’s absurd.
Such expectations, though, are dashed,
Because some woman’s ear bashed,
The NHS ’cos they were sent,
A letter writ with good intent,
Which used a word – that’s ‘manfully’ –
Which she says is insulting she.
The letter said her husband had –
Perhaps because he was the dad –
Stepped in to ‘manfully’ convey,
Their girl to hospital that day.
But in this innocent remark,
The woman saw a meaning dark:
She didn’t want, reading this cant,
To put up with this sexist rant.
So she complained, just as you would,
Insisted the hospital should,
Apologise and write again,
And this time not to mention men.
The hospital (with nought to do?)
Thought this a good idea too,
And so they penned some words to say,
That they were very sorry they,
With grief were now themselves beside,
And, in fact, they were mortified.
So let your watchword be, ‘Take care’,
If you want to avoid despair,
Writing to Harry, Tom or Dick –
They might not like the words you pick!